January 3, 2009


Its been a quiet week on the Island, our hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. After a burst of rain, the temps have dropped again at night down to freezing here during the lull in the rains. Seasonal precipitation hovers around 3 inches, with the norm standing at 21 inches, so we have a way to go before the drought is over. Come Spring, the cities are sure to endure a round of water rationing.

In general, the celebrations were rather sedate around here -- nobody has any money for one thing -- and sobering daily news has really put the kibosh on the party spirit, despite a kind of warm joy at what is about to unfold in the Nation's Capitol in a few weeks.

Lionel, owner of the Pampered Pup hot-dog shop, still can't get over the news. His family came up from Metarie in Louisiana during the war years to help build the immense battleships and subs to fight the original Axis of Evil. Lost an uncle in the terrible Port Chicago disaster when two ammo ships blew up, vaporizing just about a couple hundred African-American men.

Another uncle was court martialed for mutiny during the resulting general strike on account of the lack of safety measures. At that time the men were hand carrying live shells up and down ladders for the loading while the White officers stood watching on dockside.

He well remembered the time of marching in the streets when everything started to change, the Panthers with their rifles, and the day of sobbing when the news of King's death went out.

His good bro', Thomas, had come from Illinois twenty-five years ago and still slept with a loaded .45 under his bed. Thomas was no fool. As a young boy he had seen from the scared windows of his parent's old Rambler the awful flicker of the burning cross out in Chicagoland.

And now look at the way things have changed. Nelson Mandela, not only freed -- when everybody thought he would rot in prison -- but become a President himself with the Apart-hate banished, and an honest to God Black family in the White House.

He had to pinch himself to keep from thinking he was living in a dream!

He closed up the shop and headed on down to the Old Same Place where Suzie and Padraic and Dawn greeted him by name.

Padraic was enthusiastic about the new President Elect with Jose, Javier, Denby and the usual Same Old Sick Crew all at the bar.

He's got a terrible mess to handle after all the ructions of the past ten years and more. That Reagan was the Great Confabulator who started this economic hootandoodie. Cute as a drowned rat he was with the deregulation and union bustin'. Obama had better turn out to be Superman as well as a good Brother o' mine.

Lionel commented he hadn't known there was any blood in Padraic.

Sure ya know, said Padraic. Me family hails from da Black Irish of the auld sod.

Pretty fly, commented Suzie, but only Javier got the joke, and he practically snorted beer through his nose.

Well, if being Black was the new fashion, it was all right by Lionel. It was better than what had been going on for about four hundred years.

From far off, wavering between the fog-shrouded cranes of the Port of Oaktown, over the shattered remnants of the broken Port Chicago wharves and the unruly houses of Richmond and bullet-pocked Oaktown itself, ululating over the slop-slap of the estuary waters, came the long wail of the through-passing train as it wound its inexorable way, like History itself, pushing forward through the dark and shuttered Jack London Waterfront, lighting the way with its great glowing headlight, bearing the immense containers from the Port to places unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great year.


Give it to me baby, uh huh, uh huh
Give it to me baby, uh huh, uh huh
Give it to me baby, uh huh, uh huh
And all the girlies say "Pretty fly for a white guy"
Uno dos tres cuatro cinco cinco seis
You know its kinda hard just to get along today
Our subject isn't cool, but he thinks it anyway
He may not have a clue, and he may not have style
But everything he lacks, well he makes up in denial

So don't debate, a player straight
You know he really doesn't get it anyway.
He's gonna play the field, and keep it real.
For you no way, for you no way.
So if you don't rate, just overcompensate.
At least you'll know you can always go on Ricki Lake.

The world needs wannabees
Hey, hey, do the brand new thing!
Give it to me baby, uh huh, uh huh (repeat 2x)
And all the girlies say "I'm pretty fly for a white guy"
He needs some cool tunes, not just any will suffice
But they didn't have Ice Cube so he bought Vanilla Ice
Now cruising in his Pinto, he sees homies as he pass
But if he looks twice, they're gonna kick his lily ass!

So don't debate, (repeat)

The world loves wannabes
Hey, hey, do the trendy thing!
Now he's getting a tattoo yeah, he's getting ink done
He asks for a 13, but they drew a 31
Friends say he's trying too hard and he's not quite hip
But in his own mind he's the . . . he's the dopest trick
Give it to me baby, uh huh, uh huh (repeat 2x)
And all the girlies say "I'm pretty fly for a white guy"
Uno dos tres cuatro cinco cinco seis

So don't debate, (repeat)

The world needs wannabes
The world loves Wannabes
Let's get some more wannabes
Hey, hey, do the brand new thing!

Words and music by The Offspring